The Role of Social Support in the Transition Process of Elite Injured Swimmers
University of Wales
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Objective: The aim of this study was to determine and examine the importance of social support during a career transition from a resulting injury in swimming. Design and method: Athletes participated in semi-structured, qualitative interviews to gain an understanding into their perceptions of their injury and social support, as well as being able to adapt the questions to provide a flexible rationale for all participants and probe for additional general information. Participants: Purposive sampling was considered and used to complete this study. Five (n=5) mix-gendered swimmers of an elite standard, who sustained a severe injury within the past five years and had either swum for Llantrisant Sharks or Cardiff Swimming Club. Results: Results revealed five significant key themes between injury and social support during an within career transition. These themes include perceptions of a forced transition, vital importance of social support, perceived verses received support, social support typology, and athletic identity. Conclusion: Results suggest that when an athlete receives specific types of support, which matches the stressor from people that are close to an athlete’s social ties. It is seen as particularly beneficial during a successful within career transition, but at the same time an athlete does not have any recollection or understanding or perceived support. This is only enhanced and understood after the athlete has experienced a career transition and has received substantial emotional, tangible and informational support. This study then as a result tried to identify as many key themes in an effort to try and understand the vital importance of social support in a forced but ultimately successful career transition. This accordingly might lead to minimising negative psychological variables and supporting the idea: "importance of social support is a vital coping process on a career transition as a result of an injury".
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